If you consult a Singapore travel guide to find out which hawker centre serves the best seafood it will likely recommend Newton Circus, which is also known for touting and overcharging tourists. Instead, ask a Singaporean living on the west coast and they’ll point you in the direction of Pasir Panjang Food Centre where you can get a better seafood feast for less.
Pasir Panjang is a mid-sized hawker centre with about 45 stalls in total, but you really can’t go wrong ordering from any of them. Our top pick for a seafood feast is the Alan BBQ Seafood Stall where squid, fish, clams and stingray are slathered in spicy sambal sauce, wrapped in banana leaves and grilled starting at S$10 for a portion big enough to feed two. You can also sample Singapore’s famous chilli crab here, though locals tend to prefer the black pepper or butter version. The cost of crab depends on the market rate, so always ask before ordering.
All the must-try hawker dishes can be found here including satay, chicken wings, char kway teow, fried carrot cake and both kinds of rojak. There is also authentic Thai food to be found here at the Bua Siam stall – the phad kapow gai (minced chicken with basil) and tom yam goong are just as loaded with chillies as anything you get in Bangkok and a bargain by Singapore standards, with prices from S$5.
All of this spicy food definitely calls for some ice cold Tiger beer, and it’s also a bargain here at S$5.20 for a big bottle – try drinking it like a local in a mug filled with ice cubes. If it’s too early to start drinking, you can also get Singapore-style coffee (kopi), soft drinks, fruit shakes and fresh sugar cane juice.
Considering the low prices, Pasir Panjang Food Centre provides good service – most hawkers will bring your food to your table when it’s ready (tell them your table number) and you pay when it arrives. The downsides are that the cleanliness isn’t always up to Singapore’s high standards and it gets crowded at night, though that’s true of anywhere in Singapore that serves excellent food at a fair price.
While many stalls are open for breakfast and lunch, Pasir Panjang’s beloved seafood stalls don’t open until after 17:00. To make up for it, they do stay open late and you can feast on fried rice and spicy seafood until 22:00 on weekdays and 23:00 or later on weekends. Best yet, this hawker centre is extremely easy to get to via public transit — take the escalator up from Pasir Panjang MRT station and you can’t miss it.
Tanya Procyshyn is a freelance writer and photographer. With a passion for unusual destinations, she has camped alongside Komodo dragons and shook hands with soldiers in North Korea.
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